World No. 2 withdraws before tee time in major-title defense

Lilia Vu speaks to the media at the Chevron Championship.

Lilia Vu's title defense at the Chevron never even got started.

Jack Hirsh/GOLF

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Lilia Vu’s title defense of her first career major championship ended before it could even begin.

Citing a back injury, Vu, the No. 2 Player in the World who prevailed in a playoff a year ago at the Chevron Championship for the first of two major wins last season, withdrew from this year’s edition just before her first round tee time.

LPGA officials said Vu was not at the tee for her 1:10 p.m. CT start and had alerted them ahead of time that she was withdrawing. She told the LPGA a back injury “flared up” during her warmup.

“I am so sorry to have to withdraw from The Chevron Championship, as I was really looking forward to defending my first major title,” Vu said in a statement posted on Instagram Thursday afternoon. “I have been dealing with a back injury for a while now. Some days are better than others, and today was unfortunately not a good day. During my normal warm-up routine, I had severe discomfort in my back and I felt that I could not compete up to my standards and made the decision to withdraw from the tournament ahead of my tee time. I am planning to return home to see my doctors immediately to determine the best appropriate next steps.

“I want to thank everyone at Chevron for their support and understanding. I am so proud to be a Chevron champion and can’t wait to get back next year. Thank you as well to the fans and volunteers at the course – you are in for a wonderful four days!”

Jennifer Song replaced Vu in her threesome with World No. 1 Nelly Korda and 2022 U.S. Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee.

It’s the third event Vu has withdrawn from this season as she has struggled in the follow-up to her breakout Player of the Year campaign. She won four times in 2023, including her first two majors, at this event and the AIG Women’s Open.

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Vu has just one top 10 this season and followed it with back-to-back WDs due to a back injury in February and March. She made it through her next two starts in late March, but skipped the T-Mobile Match Play in Vegas.

Vu said in the leadup to this week that she was going back to her full training regiment as she worked to recover from the injury.

“I’ve definitely kind of put lifting kind of on the back burner and just let myself recover. Seeing my physical therapist at home almost every single day,” she said Tuesday. “It kind of kills me that I can’t go and train like fully the way I like to, because that’s something I love to do.

“I got back into it last week and was fine. I feel like I’m in a good area for this week.”

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